herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Knox acquitted of Meredith murder

Amanda Knox's murder conviction has been overturned (AP)
Amanda Knox's murder conviction has been overturned (AP)

Italy's highest court has ordered that Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend be acquitted of the charge of murdering Meredith Kercher.

The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito (inset).

Both Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her hometown of Seattle, and Sollecito have long maintained their innocence.

The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year's convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial.

The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by evidence. Their reasoning will be released within 90 days.

Attorney Giulia Bongiorno had previously dissected the decision of an appeal court in Florence last year to show what she said were numerous errors of fact and logic that resulted in prison sentences of 28-and-a-half years for Knox and 25 years for Raffaele Sollecito.

Exonerated

Judges at the Court of Cassation in Rome started deliberating shortly after noon.

In her closing arguments, Ms Bongiorno said even Knox's original statement to police - which was never entered as evidence and was later changed - exonerated her client.

Knox, who along with Ms Kercher had been studying in the university town of Perugia, initially accused a Congolese bar owner of the murder.

She also told investigators she was home the night Ms Kercher was killed and had to cover her ears to drown out her screams.

Ms Bongiorno said she believed Knox's statement was coerced, but that even if the high court chooses to consider it, Sollecito figures nowhere in her story.

Ms Kercher (21) was found dead on November 2, 2007, in the apartment she shared with Knox and two other students. Her throat was slashed and she had been sexually assaulted.

Knox said her initial statement was forced under duress during late-night questioning by Italian police without a lawyer present and in a language she barely spoke.

Her false accusation against Diya Lumumba, who owned the bar where Knox occasionally worked, resulted in a slander conviction against Knox that has been upheld on appeal.

hnews@herald.ie

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